Some might call me a work-a-holic. I must admit, I almost wear that title like a badge of honour; proud of my accomplishments and the long hours I have invested in order to achieve them. It was just recently when I had a moment of clarity as to exactly why I am a work-a-holic and trust me, wanting to work hard, long hours has nothing to do with it! Given a choice, I’d much rather be lounging poolside as I work on my glowing tan, sipping fancy drinks with those tiny umbrella’s in them and reading some trashy romance novel (well, ok, make it a self help book instead). Oh, but be a multi-millionaire too. Minor detail.
If you are familiar with "Sacred Gifts" then you might already know where my story is heading. You see, one of my Sacred Gifts is the gift of Assistance (as well as the gift of "Service" which adds to the mix). Those of us with this gift have an absolute need to be of service. We thrive on it; our self value often depends on it. Many times to our detriment.
Here are some of the traits of those with the gift of assistance: We are dedicated to the success of another, we easily anticipate the needs of another, we love to be more in the background being the helpers than being on stage, and we are committed to the people we are serving.
Does this ring true for you or perhaps you know of someone with these traits? They aren’t hard to find in a crowd… they’re always the ones putting their hand up volunteering, serving on committees, and always have the "just tell me what needs to be done and I’ll get it done" attitude.
This all sounds quite wonderful, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, there’s a darker side that many aren’t aware of… the true story that goes on behind the scenes. The problem is, us "Assistants" have boundary issues. Yep, there, I said it! Saying "no" to a client or letting them know they have to wait until the next day before something can get done is really tough for me. In my mind, I’ve let them down severely and I’ve convinced myself that most likely they will immediately go and find someone else who can help them quicker than I can if I do.
Oh, you say that’s not the case and I’m just being silly? Well, we do live in an "immediate" society where people want satisfaction now and can’t wait for someone else to get around to doing their bidding.
The problem is compounded when my own clients ALSO have the gift of Assistance. Can you see the duplicity? THEY have no problems working non-stop and helping others … often at the sacrifice of their health, quality family time and personal wellness, so they actually expect others working with them to be the same way as they. I know I myself have fallen into this trap when I deal with my own resources wondering why on earth can’t they move any quicker? After all, it’s only Sunday night after dinner – what else could they possibly be doing but watching TV anyway?
So there you have it. We were born this way and didn’t choose to be work-a-holics. I continue to work on my boundaries but dare say the moment a client even remotely shows disappointment when I try to enforce them, I’m quick to say, "Ok, I can do it now". Sigh. Is there hope for me yet?
If you are interested in hearing more about Sacred gifts, I learned about mine at a fabulous workshop in Vancouver in the spring and Monique is holding another one Oct. 2-3, 2010 near Vancouver BC Canada. http://bit.ly/9EEFFm